Adult ADHD: Cover That Mouth Before You Use It!
Tuesday, April 27 2010 Douglas Cootey
One of my favorite aspects of adult ADHD is the delightful way I open my mouth and insert both my feet into my mouth…usually sideways with boots on and an awkward piece of toilet paper trailing behind. It paints a great image, but it's even better to hear. My mouth has been known to light bridges aflame behind me leaving burned out friendships to mark my passing.
Fortunately, I have surrounded myself with friends who aren't offended by me, or perhaps I am only left with friends who aren't offended by me. I can never get that straight. My friends and family are usually laughing when they are around me. There's quite a bit of head shaking, but the things that come out of my mouth sometimes (usually with a bit of snarky cheek) keep them entertained.
Obviously, people think of easy distractibility when they think of Adult ADHD, but the lack of control over impulses that makes easy distractibility possible also opens the doors wide for awkward social gaffes to waltz on through.
Hallowell and Ratey state it the following way in their Suggested Diagnostic Criteria for Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder in Adults:
#5 Tendency to say what comes to mind without necessarily considering the timing or appropriateness of the remark.
Like the child with ADD in the classroom, the adult with ADD gets carried away in enthusiasm. An idea comes and it must be spoken—tact or guile yielding to childlike exuberance.
These days I can catch myself before I blunder. It's been a long time since I've said something inappropriate, but the memories of past gaffes often flare up from time to time and I feel hot embarrassment all over again. One in particular that flushes me redder than a ripe tomato involves an old, cherished neighbor.
Their kids had all grown up and married and they decided to sell the house and upgrade into a different home. They invited us over and offered us a few things out of their garage. Floor lamps and photo albums, plus other well-loved things that my daughters took an instant liking to. And then there it was: THE lampshade. It was perfect. A six-sided thing of velour loveliness with feathers and shimmering beads. My friend had just moved into his condo and I had found a bejeweled and tacky lamp base that needed a kindred spirit of a shade to make it whole. I thought this lampshade would clash wonderfully. I told them so. I used words like "tacky" and "gag" and other things that made the lady of the house's eye bulge.
I remember the look of abject horror on her face as she learned what I had in store for her largesse. What a buffoon I was. I laugh now, but we lost contact with them soon after. Looking back, I will always wonder if that was no small coincidence. Fortunately, turning 40 has slowed my lips down to a rate my brain can keep pace with and staple them shut if necessary.
Or have I matured?
Nah, let’s not jump to conclusions.